The driver is arguably the most talked-about club in golf. Sure, some would argue that a putter is the most vital golf club, but the driver’s significance cannot be neglected.
Hitting a driver seems a straightforward task at first, however, many golfers struggle to hit their drivers cleanly. Topping and slicing the ball is a common nuisance faced by many amateurs and a few professional golfers.
Due to its lowest loft among all the clubs, the driver’s sole purpose is to maximize the distance traveled by the ball. That is why they’re crucial as they provide an excellent headstart that boosts morale and instills confidence. The driver is also the longest golf club, and hitting a driver is vastly different from hitting irons.
If you think that mastering the driver is a formidable skill, you’re right to some extent; however, there’s nothing a little practice won’t fix.
We have compiled a four-step technique that will transform your driver hitting skills and surely add a few yards to your shot. This technique incorporates all the aspects of hitting the driver, from the initial setup all the way to the follow-through.
Keep in mind that these instructions are for a right-handed golfer.
How to Hit a Driver: A step by step guide
Step 1. Initial setup and tee height
The setup covers everything before you take the shot. This includes your stance, the ball position, body tilt, your distance from the ball, and the tee height.
- Stand a couple of feet away from the ball with your feet close together.
- Slightly widen your feet by moving your left foot. The idea is to move your left foot, so its heel is in line with the ball.
- Now widen your stance by moving the right foot so that your feet are at shoulder width.
- The ball should be much closer to your left foot than the right but not ahead of it.
- The next step is to hold the club. The best way to hold the club is to place your left hand’s fingers below the shaft and rolling your palm around and over the top. You should be able to see two knuckles of your left hand.
- Then, you need to place your right hand a little to the side of the grip rather than above. Essentially, you should hold the club with your right hand’s fingers instead of the palm.
- Many golfers don’t realize this, but your shoulders play a defining role in adding more distance to your shot. The key is to drop your right shoulder a bit so that your upper body is tilted at an angle. All of these steps cover your stance.
- Now coming to the tee height, your priority should be setting an optimum height for maximum ball displacement.
- Place your driver’s clubface on the ground next to the tee with the ball. You have to ensure that half of the ball is above the clubface’s height. Adjust the tee accordingly.
Step 2. Driver Backswing
The backswing is one of the most critical aspects of hitting a driver and adding more distance to your shot. The goal is to have a backswing with an upward arc and generate enough power to propel the ball as far as possible.
- Stand in the position as described in the first step. Make sure that the tee height and the ball’s position are exactly as mentioned above.
- While taking the backswing, your goal should be to keep your body in the same position for the entire duration. This means not tilting your body either left or right during the backswing.
- Instead of tilting, you should focus on rotating your upper body and hips to generate power.
- Take the golf club straight back for the initial part of the swing until the clubface reaches your waist height. After passing this point, you have to get your wrists to work and rotate the golf club around your body.
- Also, during the initial part of the backswing, your arms should be as straight as possible and completely extended. Behind this point, the arms can bend a little to rotate the golf club and get a coiling effect.
- While you rotate your body backward, you should transfer the bulk of your body weight onto your right foot.
Step 3. Driver Downswing
The key to having a perfect driver downswing is to keep your upper body behind the ball at all times, especially at the point of contact between the club and the ball. We’ll continue from where we left on the backswing.
- Begin where we left at the previous step, i.e., at the point when you transfer your weight to your right foot.
- In the last step, the focus was on rotating the upper body to generate power. Here, the focus is to unwind your body’s rotation that you created previously.
- During the unwinding process, you should keep your upper body at a uniform angle and behind the ball at all times.
- This rotation and unwinding are critical for hitting up into the ball to generate good loft and power for maximum distance.
- Maintain a uniform body shape for the entire duration of the swing, particularly after making contact with the ball. It would be best to keep your arms and the club fully extended for this. The angle between the shaft and your arms should be as straight as possible.
- As you hit the ball, your focus should be on hitting the club up into the back of the golf ball to gain optimum height.
- Another crucial factor is the strike location on the clubface. Ideally, it should be in the middle with slightly towards the toe.
Step 4. Driver Follow-through
The follow-through is one of the most underrated aspects of hitting the driver, however, it is equally important as others. The follow-through is vital for maximizing the distance and controlling the shot’s direction.
- As you rotate your hips and the upper body during the downswing, make sure your arms are stretched.
- Continue the rotation as you strike the ball and during the follow-through. The key to a good follow-through is that the club should go around the body instead of going above it.
- Going around the body has a vital advantage as it helps keep the clubface square and avoids slicing or topping the ball.
- As you continue the rotation, you’ll have to transfer your body weight from your left foot to the right in a graceful manner. The key is not to be abrupt.
- The weight transfer helps maintain balance as generating power through rotation can put you off-balance.
- Rotate your upper body fully and ensure that the club goes around the body instead of the top.
How to Hit a Driver: Final Thoughts
We know that this can be a lot of information to process for a few people. However, if you manage to incorporate all of the above into your game, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your driver hitting skills.
At first, it might seem a bit complicated and overwhelming, but as you practice this technique more often, eventually, you will get the hang of it.